Whether they are fancy trainers, work boots, or formal dress shoes, owning at least one pair of nice leather shoes is a key part of anyone's wardrobe. However, knowing how to look after them properly can be daunting to those who've never used a shoe polish before. The right shoe cream or wax will not only keep your shoes looking clean and shiny, but it'll also protect them against damage.
We've come up with a handy buying guide so you can extend the life of your favourite footwear so you can save money. We've rounded up the 10 best shoe polishes from popular brands like Kiwi, Cherry Blossom and Saphir, all available from online retailers such as Amazon and eBay so you can keep your favourite pair of shoes looking their best for longer.
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Table of Contents
A cream polish will provide your shoe with a matte shine along with moisturising the leather of your shoe. Plus, they often come in colours which is great for restoring your shoe’s exterior and covering up any potential scuffs.
This is typically the most common type of shoe polish you'll find on the market, and work well for buffing up everyday shoes. It's also the easiest to use for beginners, so start here if you're buying your first tub to bring an old pair of shoes back to their best.
A wax-based polish, on the other hand, will give your shoes a shinier finish than a cream polish, as well as protecting the leather. This works especially well for keeping smart or formal pairs of shoes looking their best.
Wax polishes contain ingredients like beeswax that will allow you to buff out marks and scuffs from your shoes, but there is a learning curve with this, so start slowly – use too little polish and you won't achieve a shine, but use too much and you may dry your shoes out and have the polish flake off.
If you're looking to weatherproof non-leather shoes, why not try some waterproofing sprays?
As we mentioned, cream-based polishes will often contain colourings for various shades of shoe. This is especially useful if you think your shoes are looking particularly dull or you have some scuffs you need to cover up.
If you mostly own black shoes or have a particular white pair you want to restore, you may want to consider a coloured shoe polish. Otherwise, using a multipurpose transparent shoe polish is the best option, as it means you will be able to use it on your whole shoe collection as opposed to just one or two pairs.
Some shoes are beyond repair, so take a look at a new pair of hiking boots!
Being a natural material, it makes sense that natural ingredients work better on leather shoes. Natural ingredients, such as lanolin and beeswax, will absorb better into the leather material and help protect your shoe better in the long term.
Although synthetic ingredients such as petroleum and silicone aren’t necessarily bad for your shoes, they won’t be as effective as natural ingredients. However, they are usually cheaper so if you’re on a budget, this may be a better option for your purchase.
To efficiently polish your shoes, it’s advised to use a cloth to apply it, as well as a brush to buff it out. If you don’t own any of these, it might be worth buying a polish kit that comes with these accessories, as opposed to a standalone container. These can also make a fantastic gift!
And if you're a complete newbie, there are even polishes with inbuilt sponges so you don’t need any additional extra materials. If you often find yourself needing to polish quickly and on the go, this could be a better option for you as you simply squeeze the container and apply to your shoes.
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Beaute du Cuir Renovateur
Unbeatable Shoe Polish for Bringing Life Back to Old Leather
Leather Cream Classic
A Classic Formula for Restoring Shine and Ensuring Longevity
The One Shoe Cream
Quick-Drying, Cream-Based Wax Available in 85 Colours
Perfect Stain Shoe Wax Polish
A Blend of Carnauba and Beeswax With a Water-Repellant Finish
An Affordable Cream That Won't Dry Out
Premium Shoe Polish
Affordable Shoe Polish Manufactured in the UK
Neutral Polish Shoe Care
A High Quality Transparent Boot Polish Made for Dr. Martens
Shine and Protect Black
Quick and Easy Polish for Shining Shoes on the Go
7 Piece Shoe Polish Kit
An All In One 7 Piece Shoe Polishing Kit for Beginners
Unisex-Adult Leather Care
A Travel-Sized Cream With Sponge Applicator for Easy Polishing
Award-winning French shoe polish brand Saphir's Renovateur has achieved a near cult-like status for its great quality product. This polish is specifically made for full-grain leather, with a mink-oil based formula that is 100% natural and will treat your leather better in the long term than other synthetic formulas.
No matter how old or worn out your leather may be, this Renovateur polish will be able to restore your shoes by hydrating and nourishing the leather, as well as providing the highest-quality shine. This polish is by far the best on our list and will be worth every penny spent!
Having provided quality shoe care in England since 1889, Wren's is another historical brand on our list who were even awarded the Royal Warrant by King George VI in 1936. This cream formula ensures the longevity of both smooth and grained leather footwear, guaranteeing it lasts and lasts.
Compared to many other similar offerings, Wren's polish provides superior nourishment and a high-mirror shine to leather with minimal buffing and energy. Even beginners will be able to achieve an effortless shine!
This TRG shoe polish is a quick-drying, soft, cream-based wax that includes natural ingredients such as beeswax to provide a nourishing shine to both natural and synthetic kinds of leather.
The best thing about this polish is that you can use it on more than just your shoes – try it on other leather goods such as your bag or wallet as well! Plus, even more impressively than the previous entry, it comes in an incredible 85 colours. So no matter which shade you need, this polish will restore colour as well as prevent colour fading.
Angelus is a long-standing company that was established in 1907 and to this day, they still use the same original formula for their shoe polish. Featuring a blend of carnauba wax and beeswax as well as a selection of other first-grade waxes and oils, their polish has been tried and tested for over 100 years.
Not only does this polish buff up shoes perfectly, but it also helps clean and preserves them. Got a bright, beautiful, and varied shoe collection? There are 15 colours to choose from, any of which will restore a richer colour to your faded footwear.
Kiwi is a household name when it comes to shoe care, which is why we had to include their classic shoe polish on our list. This black shoe polish will not only protect your shoes but will also weatherproof them for future wear.
It also features a handy latch-style design on the tin, which will prevent your polish from drying out in the short term and guarantee use for months to come. We think this would be a great pick for those who only have a pair or two of leather shoes in their collection.
If you like to support British brands, Cherry Blossom is a shoe care brand that dates back to 1906 and is still manufactured in the UK for a lower carbon footprint. For a budget option, you won't be disappointed with the results.
This polish helps add shine whilst nourishing and protecting your shoes, using ingredients such as carnauba wax for a great polish. Plus, it comes in a wide range of colours from black and neutral to tan and oxblood red, and is so affordable you could buy one for each pair of shoes you own!
The Dr Martens neutral polish is a specially-formulated solid wax polish that restores and conditions smooth leathers. It also provides your shoes with protection from elements so you can avoid potential stains.
Also available in cherry red and black, this polish doesn't just work wonders on your Dr Martens but also on all other leather boots and shoes as well. It's a little pricier than the average synthetic polish, but the quality really does speak for itself.
Another product that's recommended for travelling, Kiwi's Shine & Protect formula contains natural carnauba wax for shine and protection. With an inbuilt dual-layer sponge, the application is so easy that you can even polish your shoes with just one hand!
However, although it contains natural ingredients, there are also synthetic ingredients in the formula so if you wanted something all-natural, it might be best to skip this item on the list but the convenience is hard to ignore!
If you are looking for an all-inclusive set for your shoe polishing needs, Glo-Earth's 7 piece kit is a great starting point. Featuring two horsehair brushes for buffing, a polishing cloth, a shoehorn, and two tins of polish in black and neutral, this kit has everything you need.
However, owing to its affordability, the shoe polishes that come with this kit may not be of the highest quality. Nevertheless, while they may not restore those old beaten up boots of yours, they will do the job for most standard leather shoes.
This shoe polish by Danish shoe manufacturer Ecco is the perfect item for those wanting a pocket-sized polish to take on the go. Featuring an inbuilt sponge, this polish will provide an instant shine as well as improve water resistance.
The convenient size and packaging with its inbuilt sponge makes this option perfect to travel with it, but that does mean you may end up going through the product quickly. When it comes to convenience, however, it is hard to beat.
After working the polish in, leave it to dry and work its way into the leather. This can be anywhere from 20 minutes to even overnight to fully work its magic.
Then, using a polishing brush, use long, firm strokes to brush over the entire shoe. This final step not only removes any excess polish but the buffing action also helps to bring out the shine of your shoe.
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